Train Oz brains, say recruiters

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Recruiters say the Australian Government needs to put more money into white-collar training to address the chronic shortage in the financial services sector.

Australia's Government has set aside A$837m to spend on additional training measures for unskilled Australians. Recruiters say it's focusing on the wrong area.

"Australia does not have a jobs problem, it has a skilled workers problem," says Grahame Doyle, a senior regional director for recruitment firm Hays. "There needs to be an investment in addressing that."

Michael Markiewicz, managing director of executive search and recruitment firm Carmichael Fisher, says Australia's educational institutions will be unable to produce enough graduates to meet local needs.

"The Government needs to have a very hard look at the severe shortages of professional skills and qualified people that has developed, and put in place measures to redress a critical issue for this country."

Professional skills vacuum

Markiewicz estimates that there are four job opportunities for every junior accountant in the country.

"There is like a vacuum of qualified lawyers, accountants and financial services professionals," he says. "As soon as they are getting one or two years' experience, they are being lured overseas. It's like a suction machine.

"Something needs to be done to educate more people, and more needs to be done to try and encourage people to come (to Australia)."

Doyle says the Government has provided little detail on how it will spend its A$837m budget, but it is important that it is spread across both blue and white-collar industries.

"Without question there is a shortage of skills. The general market for skilled employment has been very, very strong, and it has been for some years. As you go up through skills level, the shortage becomes more chronic."

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